Difficult, even tragic events will come into our lives causing us to question their purpose. A young man bold in his witness of the resurrected Christ was silenced forever by the stone-throwing religious zealots. This tragedy shook the young Christian church, but God used this event for a greater purpose.
The death of Stephen launched the first persecution of the early Christian church. The new believers had to flee Jerusalem and were scattered throughout the Gentile world. In doing so, they shared the message of Jesus’ resurrection. We read in Acts, “The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.”
Despite these difficult circumstances, the Lord’s hand utilized the new Christians to sow His Word and as a result, a great multitude came to faith. God’s hand makes miracles possible, even in the most difficult of circumstances. Sometimes, God places us in a challenging time to sow God’s Word in the hearts of all people.
With this in mind, we can pray, “Dear Lord Jesus, there are times when I think that no good thing can come out of my circumstance. Thank you for reminding me that You are bigger than any circumstance in my life and that You are using everything to try and draw people to You — that Your hand is in all things. Thank You that Your plans and purposes are above my understanding. Use me, Lord, to draw others to You. Amen.”
A Christian calls themselves a servant for the Lord, but what about being a slave? The Apostle Paul considered himself a slave, but not to the Lord as his Master, but a slave to everyone. He did so for one very important reason.
Paul was willing to sacrifice his freedom for the sake of others in order to bring them to faith in Christ. We read in 1 Corinthians, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.”
A slave means a loss of freedom – meaning you are no longer your own, but the property of another. To willingly become a slave for Christ means you are ready to relinquish your rights and your liberty for a greater purpose.
With a thankful heart, we can make ourselves a slave to everyone by being sensitive to the customs, the culture and the feelings of others. This doesn’t mean we compromise our beliefs and behaviors governed by God’s Word, but we can be flexible and adaptable in our approach. The over-riding purpose is to bring as many people as possible to heaven – even if it means relinquishing our liberty we have in Christ.
We can pray, “Lord, help me step out of my comfort zone and reach out to others the way they are accustomed, the way they will feel most comfortable. Help me love others by serving them and putting their needs above my comfort zones. I want others to come to know You, Jesus. Make me uncomfortable for Your glory! I don’t go beyond being a servant, Lord, but a slave for You. Amen.”
A way to keep our faith vibrant and active is to remind people of all that we have in Christ. We can share our love with others in practical ways, but also take the time to refute false teaching with love and respect.
Sincere Christians mired in doubt may question their salvation by having a misunderstanding about what Christ has already done for them. For others, lost in worldly pursuits or religions glorified in self-righteousness, there is an urgency to save them from eternal death.
The Bible says, “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
We can patiently encourage and instruct Christians wrestling with doubt. Yet, like a child struggling to stay afloat in deep waters, we are inspired to take a more aggressive action in order to save those lost in sin. As we exercise discernment in each individual situation, there are times we must be more firm in expressing the severe consequences of God’s anger toward sin.
We can go the Lord and pray, “Lord, when I share Your Word and Your life with others, give me discernment to know when to be gentle and when to be firm. May my words and actions always be coated with Your love. And may I humbly walk my talk so that others may trust my message of Your truth. I recognize that the best way to keep my faith active and vibrant is to remind others of all the blessing we have in You. Thank you for dwelling in me. Amen.”
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”
The Greek word Paul uses for the power of God is “dynamis”—from which we receive the English word “dynamite.” The power of the gospel not only blows away human reasoning and pride, but also our hesitancy to share the “foolishness” of the gospel to an unbelieving world.
When Paul writes that he is not ashamed of the gospel, this verse comes right after expressing eagerness to preach. This means that Paul wasn’t hesitant to share, but exhibited trust that all of God’s claims and promises he was preaching are true.
We do not need to be reluctant in sharing the message of the gospel, because a believer’s confidence is in the all-important message of our salvation and the power behind it, not in ourselves. For the message we share comes from God and is centered on the fulfilled promise of His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s not about ourselves, so we need not be reluctant or ashamed.
We can go the Lord and pray;
“Oh, Lord! How often do I focus on my weaknesses and not on the power of Your Gospel! Please forgive me. Help me to not only focus on that power but rely on it as I boldly step out and share your salvation and love with others. With you Lord, I am not ashamed, but utilize the dynamite of Your Word to bring others to You! Amen.”
How does the concept of God’s Word being “dynamis” help you?
For other posts similar to this, please go to “A prayer to spread the knowledge of God.”
In ancient times, whenever a Roman general and his soldiers returned from a great victory, they would be greeted by roaring and celebrative crowds. The parade would be led by priests carrying burning incense symbolizing the fragrance of victory. With this image in mind, the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”
No matter the difficult circumstances before us or the obstacles placed in our way, the ministry of the gospel is always powerful and victorious. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, our victory is assured. With renewed peace and confidence, our journey through life does not have to be a burden, but a triumphal procession.
With joyful hearts rooted in Christ Jesus, we are able to spread the knowledge of our victory in Christ. With lives reflecting our thanksgiving and love for God, we can’t help but to spread the inviting fragrance of the gospel with all people whom God has placed on our path.
We can go to the Lord and pray; “Just as a person can walk into a home and be overpowered by the aroma of freshly baking bread, Oh Lord, may a person enter my presence and be overpowered by the fragrance of you living in me. May the joy and confident victory that I have in You, attract others to receive the fragrance of knowing Christ as Lord and Savior. Thank you for Your life. Amen.”
Only eleven disciples remained. Fearful, doubtful, perhaps still in awe over witnessing the resurrected Christ standing before them. Yet, with perhaps a knowing glint in his eyes, Jesus is going to challenge them far beyond their capabilities. He is going bring them on an amazing adventure.
Will this be a task too great? Absolutely! But not when God goes with you.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says to his disciples, “Go into the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Jesus is commissioning them to carry out the adventure of spreading the news that He is the Christ to an unbelieving world. It is the same commission He gives to Christians.
A task too great? Definitely. But, Jesus promises us He will never give us anything beyond what we can bear or carry out.
So, what does He do?
First, he gives us the credentials of being saints in Christ Jesus. Next, he gives us the message to proclaim and the ministry to advance. Finally, He gives us the power. Salvation is only from God, and so is the message and the power to deliver it.
Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Accept Christ’s call to carry his message to the world. In doing so, we can pray;
“Dear Jesus. Just as you commissioned Your disciples You have also commissioned me. Empower me with Your Spirit to share Your message of love and life. How awesome to think that You created me – yes, me – just for this purpose! I’m ready to go!! Amen.
Coming to a saving faith in Christ Jesus usually involves a process. There is so much going on behind the scenes of one’s heart and soul that we don’t know or see. Someone could be praying for a friend or a loved over a long period of time. In what seems like a random encounter of sharing the gospel, becomes a divine appointment. The Lord uses a soul to answer a question, provide an example, or simply offers words of encouragement from God’s Word. That could be the moment where faith springs up from a dormant seed planted years ago.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
God can use many people to open hearts to the message of the gospel. There is a process of sowing and there is a process of reaping. We are not the only instrument of God’s work. Like a full orchestra, there are a variety of instruments needed to play the sweet song of grace. So, we should not exalt ourselves in our particular role, nor feel discouraged in our lack of reaping. We just need to be humbly open and willing to play any part of the process.
Our prayer can be, “Lord Jesus, as part of Your body, I work together with other Christians everywhere for Your good purposes and for Your glory. We each have different functions or roles, but it is through Your Spirit’s lifeblood working through believers that people come to faith in You. Remind me that I don’t work alone as You have made me part of Your body. Help me live this truth as I work together with all Christians towards Your common goal – bringing others to a life with You. Amen.”